Often recognised as a desirable retirement haven, Argentina offers expats an affordable yet high-quality lifestyle. The country's economy is, however, known for spiralling inflation which often causes soaring prices. That said, expats whose finances can withstand the unpredictable nature of Argentina's economy will enjoy life in the country.

The cost of living in Argentina's rural areas is much lower than in its metropolitan cities. The country's capital, Buenos Aires, was ranked as the world's 114th most expensive city out of 227 cities surveyed in the Mercer 2022 Cost of Living Survey. The rising cost of living has made Buenos Aires one of the most expensive cities in South America, with Santiago in Chile (130th) trailing closely behind.


Cost of groceries in Argentina

Supermarket prices for certain items in Argentina are slightly more affordable than in the UK. If expats have the time to shop around, particularly for fruit and vegetables, which are much cheaper from the roadside stalls, they can bring their grocery bills down. Meat is also a staple of Argentine cuisine and can be purchased at relatively affordable prices. Imported goods can be more expensive than locally produced items, and certain speciality foods or products may not be readily available in all areas.


Cost of transport in Argentina

Transport in Argentina can be affordable and convenient for expats, particularly in urban areas where public transport is widely available. Buses and subways are common modes of transport, and fares are often reasonable. To make the most of their money, expats may consider purchasing a contactless smartcard, or 'SUBE' card, which can offer discounts on public transport fares.

Driving in Argentina can also be an option, but expats should be aware that the cost of fuel can be relatively high compared to other countries. Cars are an expensive commodity in Argentina. The country no longer has a car manufacturing industry, and vehicle import taxes are hefty. As a result, second-hand cars hold their value quite well, and it is not unusual to buy a car, use it for several years and sell it at the same price or even more than one paid for it.


Cost of accommodation in Argentina

It is almost impossible to give average prices for either purchasing or renting accommodation in Argentina, as it varies widely between provinces. Demand in the rental market is especially high since many Argentinians are no longer in a position to buy property. Foreigners hoping to rent will be required to provide a guarantor, a deposit and several months of rent in advance.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Argentina

Argentina offers a wide range of entertainment and dining options for expats, with varying costs depending on the type of experience they are looking for. Eating out can be relatively affordable, particularly in local cafés and restaurants, where expats can sample traditional Argentine cuisine. Expats on a budget may also find that dining at home and cooking their own meals can be a cost-effective option.

When it comes to entertainment, there are many options available at different price points. Expats can make the most of their money by looking for discounts and promotions, such as early bird specials at restaurants or off-peak ticket prices for entertainment events.

Additionally, exploring local neighbourhoods and taking advantage of free events and activities can be a great way to experience Argentine culture without breaking the bank. Cultural attractions such as museums, galleries and theatres often offer discounted rates for students or seniors.


Cost of education in Argentina

Education in Argentina can vary in cost depending on the type of institution and level of education. Public education is free for all students, including expats, and offers a high level of education.

Private schools can be more expensive but typically offer smaller class sizes and more personalised attention. Additionally, certain private institutions may offer programmes in English, which can be beneficial for expats who are not fluent in Spanish. There are several international schools in Argentina, particularly in larger cities such as Córdoba and Buenos Aires.


Cost of living in Argentina chart

Prices may vary depending on location and service provider. The table below is based on average prices in Buenos Aires for February 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

ARS 119,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

ARS 87,000

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

ARS 61,000

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

ARS 45,000

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

ARS 500

Milk (1 litre)

ARS 260

Rice (1kg)

ARS 172

Loaf of white bread

ARS 260

Chicken breasts (1kg)

ARS 2,560

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

ARS 780

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

ARS 5,700

Big Mac meal

ARS 1,920

Coca-Cola (330ml)

ARS 201

Cappuccino

ARS 340

Bottle of beer (local)

ARS 390

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

ARS 57

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

ARS 3,500

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

ARS 11,700

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

ARS 99

City-centre public transport fare

ARS 29

Gasoline (per litre)

ARS 191

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